Thoughts & Essays

The National Enquirer apparently tried to blackmail Jeff Bezos & others

Jeff Bezos, By Steve Jurvetson
Photo Credit: Jeff Bezos, by Steve Jurvetson. (Source and licensing.)

Back on Jan. 9, Jeff Bezos and his soon-to-be former wife announced they were divorcing. Shortly after that, the National Enquirer published “reports” of Bezos’ affair, complete with text messages and claims of dirty photos.

Bezos apparently got to wondering how the National Enquirer got his texts and photos, so he hired all-star security consultant and author Gavin de Becker and his firm to investigate. And once the investigation started turning up dirt, the National Enquirer’s parent company, AMI, owned by David Pecker, apparently tried to blackmail Bezos by threatening to publish his dick pics.

But of course, publishing photos of Jeff Bezos’ wiener is only embarrassing – it’s not going to actually hurt him. He’s a powerful, ridiculously rich straight white dude involved in a pretty tame affair. The National Enquirer can’t actually hurt him with dirty pics, so yesterday Bezos published a blog post to Medium basically telling the National Enquirer, “🖕🖕🖕,” and published their emails to boot.

Once that happened, journalist Ronan Farrow announced, “Hey, the National Enquirer tried to blackmail me, too, along with some other prominent journalists.” Those journalists included folks at the Daily Beast and the AP.

Some links:

So, yeah, turns out, the National Enquirer? Hella shady. But of course, we already knew that.

Some more links:

The National Enquirer, for their part, says, “Nuh-uh!” and promises to investigate the situation, for whatever that’s worth. 🙄

One last quick thing. This morning Paul Krugman tweeted, “I never expected to see Jeff Bezos emerge as a hero of democracy. But he has. A profile in moral courage.”

I saw a few other folks tweeting similar sentiments last night and this morning, so I don’t mean to pick on Krugman in particular, here, but let’s tone this kind of “moral hero, profile in courage” bullshit down a bit, eh?

Bezos has umpteen gazillion dollars and more power than god. A few dick pics being made public were never going to hurt him. Also, he’s in charge of Amazon, a company that is a mass-consumerist hellscape that treats its employees like garbage.

I mean, good on Bezos for not buckling to blackmail and bringing it to light and all, but let’s not pretend that he’s some saint or anything.